Sticky Top Post

Howdy. We've moved from Cayce, but St. Elizabeth of South Rose Hill or Lizette de Waccamaw de Sud just don't do it for me.

Saturday, December 31, 2005

Memorial Site

So, I'm cruising the web whilst Izzy is cruising the NC mountains. In following a link from the Shrine of the Holy Whapping, (and isn't that always the way it happens!) I came across a link for

It's apparently a reader built database for cemeteries and their occupants. I added a page for my Dad, and realized the "note" I left with my "flowers" shows I'm more and more convinced about this whole Purgatory thing...

If you checkout the memorial, do look at all 20 photos. Clicking each one will give you a caption--some may possibly be a bit sweet for some tastes, but they felt just right for an afternoon of reminiscing on the last day of the year.'s annual necrology for 2005 starts with JP2. (He's higher up there than victims of disasters like the Tsunami (missing--I guess no one's added it) or Katrina.)

There's many more names in the category lists. For example, the religious leaders list also includes people like

  • Brother Roger, whose communication by B16 this year still upsets lots of radtrads;
  • Evelyn Roberts (my 'darling wife Evelyn' as we always heard Oral say);
  • Adrian Rogers, whose conservative movement/leadership really influenced/changed and even divided the Southern Baptist Convention of my childhood; and even
  • Dr. Gene Scott (whom we used to spend hours watching the way one watches really bad infomercials, and whose website doesn't seem to realize he's gone, except for a hilarious line on this page about email.)
Dr. Scott does not receive e-Mail. If you want to get a message to Dr. Scott, you'll have to get in line.
I'll save queueing up for later. Izzy just called and he's on the way home with BBQ from a place run by Texans. It'll be a Happy New Year for him!

Friday, December 30, 2005


So, working in preparedness, my job is to worry about such things.
No danger, though.  He (she?) is nowhere near us and is headed east.  She (he?) should be dissipated by late New Year's Day.
For weather geeks, a discussion on NOAA's site on whether or not Zeta or Alice will end up being the latest forming storm in the Atlantic Basin.
Quote on nomenclature (NOAA uses ALL CAPS):
Any bets on when Alberto & Beryl will form?

Thursday, December 29, 2005

Not just evil, but Lousy, too

Gratuitous grossness alert:

Appropriate to the Memorial of St. Thomas a' Becket today, Open Book points readers to an article in The Independent Online in which the Saint is chosen as one of the most evil Britons of the last millenium--worst Briton of the 12th century.

From the "Nomination"

As the patron saint of Roman Catholic secular clergy, Becket is nominated for the divisions he caused England. These seemed unlikely when the previously carefree and pleasure-loving courtier Becket became Archbishop of Canterbury in 1162. Yet once in office he became an ascetic prelate, devoted to the ecclesiastical hierarchy. In the schism which at that time divided the church, Becket sided with Pope Alexander II, who was devoted to the same strict hierarchical principles and, to the dismay of Henry II, sought to exempt the church from all civil jurisdiction and secure unfettered control for the clergy. After returning from exile, he excommunicated the bishops who had crowned the king and an enraged Henry uttered his fateful plea to be rid of Becket. His subsequent murder brought Becket everlasting revenge on Henry. He was canonised and credited with martyrdom. A shrine to him remains at Canterbury.

[Digressive Comment:

Really? Worse than King Stephen, whose name no subseqent British monarch has taken? Stephen, about whom the Anglo-Saxon Chronicles read:

"And so it lasted for nineteen years while Stephen was King, ...for the land was all laid waste by such deeds; and they said openly, that Christ slept, and his saints. Such things, and more than we can say, suffered we nineteen winters for our sins." Really?]

Back to the Topic:

I thought I'd add a bit about our Saint's funeral, of course from Rats, Lice and History. Quoting another historian, Zinsser writes:

MacArthur's story of Thomas a Becket's funeral illustrates [this]: -- The archbishop was murdered in Canterbury Cathedral on the evening of the twenty-ninth of December. The body lay in the Cathedral all night, and was prepared for burial on the following day... He had on a large brown mantle; under it, a white surplice; below that, a lamb's-wool coat; then another woolen coat; and a third woolen coat below this; under this, there was the black, cowled robe of the Benedictine Order; under this, a shirt; and next to the body a curious hair-cloth, covered with linen. As the body grew cold, the vermin that were living in this multiple covering started to crawl out, and, as MacArthur quotes the chronicler: 'The vermin boiled over like water in a simmering cauldron, and the onlookers burst into alternate weeping and laughter.'

I'm counting 8 or 9 layers, depending on the constuction of the linen-covered hair cloth.

Back to Becket being evil..

I think he gets an unfair rap about being inflexible on reform. He signalled clearly to King Henry 2 (father of King Richard the Lion-Heart and of King John--another king whose name is unlikely to be repeated) that his loyalties would have to be with his new master (God/Pope, etc.,) and no longer with the Henry Plantagenet (Henry 2's given name) and the King's preferences once he was consecrated as Archbishop.

I know your plans for the Church," he said, "you will assert claims which I, if I were archbishop, must needs oppose.

So, was Becket evil/bad? Nope, at least IMHO. Was he Lousy? Well, yes.

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Did You Hear What I Heard, part 2

So, much to my surprise, Amy Welborn picked up on and responded to a couple lines from my post to her blog (reproduced here.)

One commentor below noted that those who complain about music should help out -well, I'd say that some of our most vociferous critics of music in contemporary Catholic liturgies are those who are indeed musicians themselves, or have been (believe me, I have done my share in both simply participating in parish music and leading it, God help the congregations). The point is this: preparing music
for liturgies takes time and practice. Even the dreaded Haas/Haugen repertoire takes practice, and I know the choir in our parish takes time to practice their more elaborate solo turns, each of which, it seems to me, would be well-suited to the Presbyterian church down the street - musically and lyrically, they do no suggest "Catholic" at all, which does not surprise, considering our music
director isn't Catholic.

She asked for updates on Incense and Keeling, so I posted this, partly in response to her question and partly in response to reading 150+ (thusfar!) comments on Christ-masses--so many of which were unhappy at what they had watched.

-5 PM Vigil and 11 AM Christmas Day Mass at "small university parish in a southern capital city."
-Midnight at "Mother Church" in same area

Update on smells, bells and kneeling:

At our small parish, Fr. reminded us before Mass about the kneeling during the Creed, and asked us to help him remember. Things went fine at 5 PM & 11 AM. We had incense, carried at 5 PM by a young lady who had not served in this way before, but who learned quickly. She also supervised ("emceed"?) her younger siblings who also served at the 5 PM Vigil Mass. At 11 AM Christmas morning, we had one server, an older teen who "came out of retirement" (per Padre) to handle incense duties. We seem to only use bells at Easter. We heard all the saints' names in the Eucharistic

At the larger church, I didn't hear a mention of kneeling, but the audio system is a bit scratchy for the spoken word. Seated where we were, behind a large pillar, kneeling was a bit problematic, but my husband and I managed to get knees to the floor during the Creed--no one else did, at least that we could hear/see. Sung Eucharistic Prayer, from the MOC, so no Linus, Cletus, Sixtus, etc. Monsignor had a striking clear tenor, and the effect was still high-ish church.

One reason it took our family so long to swim the Tiber was a recognition of what so many commenters have said--there's a lot of not-so-good-music out there in Catholic churches, especially when compared with what one can hear at larger Protestant churches. I don't think that this is just because of lack of trained musicians, or constantly changing alternatives in the annually revised songbooks from OCP, etc. I think that there is also less of a tradition of congregational singing--the full-voiced, multi-part, deeply felt singing that one would hear for "A Mighty Fortress" or "Wonderful Grace of Jesus" or lots of the Fanny Crosby songbook. Maybe even for "Go Tell It On The Mountain"? I see plenty of Catholics sitting in pews week after week, not singing anything!

I get to hear Michael Dubriel speak on "Developing a Spirituality of the Eucharist" this past fall at a Eucharistic Conference in SC. One of his themes was "When in Rome..." and it addressed complaining and criticizing what you see and hear in church, rather than looking for ways to focus on the essentials--we are being presented with Jesus-body, blood, soul and divinity! He didn't say to ignore abuses or to not strive to improve what can be fixed, but I really appreciated Michael's reminder that we are not there to be entertained. To get the most out of the Eucharist, we must bring ourselves to God and be prepared to put aside anything that seems to rival God in importance.

Great advice for any time of year.

Monday, December 26, 2005

Did You Hear What I Heard?

Posted this as a response to Amy Welborn's question, "What Did You Hear?" The gerneral format is to indicate which Masses and where you attended.

Thought I'd "re-purpose" what I wrote here. I think I'd read one too many complaining comments when I responded...
-5 PM Vigil and 11 AM Christmas Day Mass at "small university parish in a
southern capital city."
-Midnight at "Mother Church" in same area, so I got to hear from Matthew, Luke and John this weekend.

As one of the volunteer musicians in our Parish, I sang at 5 PM and 11 AM Masses here. On Christmas Eve, the larger choir (with multiple guitars, keyboard, & flute) came to the 7 PM Mass, so we had a smaller ensemble here at 5 PM. Musicians were 2 guitars, trumpet, keyboards and vocals by soprano, alto and contralto.

I've sung for many years in far larger churches with professional choir directors and large numbers of professional-caliber instrumentalists, so I can understand the longing for more "exalted" music that is often expressed in comments to {Amy's] blog, especially for those who strongly dislike the folk/guitar style. I would just like to add that, unless some of those disgruntled folks volunteer to play and or sing or direct, it might be nice to "cut some slack" to those who do try and offer musical leadership as we all lift our voices to praise God.

That having been said, we did lots of carols at the Masses in our Parish, not for lack of any other resources, but because it's Christmas, folks! We've got a pretty loose group of musicians here, so folks who show up get to sing. I don't know how the vocal balances were at either Mass, but Fr. seemed to appreciate having folks showing up to sing, including his special request of Mary, Did You Know?

Sunday AM we began to think that there might just be two of us in the "choir" until a couple more guys showed up and agreed to sing. We had 2 tenors (one on the 12 string) and one bass, with all the guys mostly covering melody, and me, the alto. The smaller, mostly international crowd (over 50% from India) sang along enthusiastially and one young lady came up afterwards and offered to join us next Sunday.

Of course, Midnight Mass in the cathedral-sized church with the processing choir, professional organist, cantors, etc., was truly glorious and I'm so glad I went. I'm used to helping lead music, so it was quite interesting that I found myself seated directly behind a large pillar, so that my vocals bounced back directly to me, and could be heard by no one else. I couldn't help but think that, for once, I was singing only to God. What a great "audience" for Christmas!

Interesting final note: Amy's piece in the NRO made an impression on our Padre, who used it in both of the homilies I attended.

Merry Christmas from me & Izzy!

Thursday, December 22, 2005

Rats, Lice and History

Welcome to Magister Myer's email buddies!

Lots of you have been landing here since Magister linked me to his newest sig. I'm the one he affectionately refers to as SWMBO ("she who must be obeyed.") Feel free to poke around a bit while you're here.
Now, back to our post on Rats, Lice and History:

I found a copy of this 1935 book by Hans Zinsser in a pile of books about to be thrown away at work. For several weeks, now, it's been my bedtime reading.

It's a biography (yes, a biography) of typhus. There's lots in there about how plagues affected the course of history even more than wars and governments. This is also one of those books written for an erudite audience, with extensive footnotes, often in German or French.

Chapter numbers are done in the "in which we..." style, exemplified by Chapter IV: On parasitism in general, on on the necessity of considering the changing nature of infectious diseases in the historical study of epidemics.

Commenters on Amazon seem to agree it's pretty dense, whereas one CDC writer uses the word "romp."

The title page gives a hint of what's to come:

Rats, Lice

So, why blog on this obscure book? Two reasons:
First, it has what must be the BEST FOOTNOTE EVER! on page 59. In a discussion of the development of parasitism, we read this sentence:
"To be sure, it has not -- so far-- been possible in the laboratory to convert a pure saprophyte(1) into an habitual parasite."
The footnote reads:
"If the reader does not understand this word, it is too bad."

Second, this book was just given as a secret Santa gift on ER to Abby, by another doctor who wanted to discuss with her "the relative unimportance of generals" to history.

Amazed, I turned to Izzy, who said "Well, you'll just have to blog on this one."

I'm just finishing Chapter IX--I'm sure Zinsser will eventually get around to discussion of typhus. Epidemiological tidbits thusfar include advantages of syphilis, theories of what exactly afflicted the Philistines when they stole the Ark of the Covenant, and reasons for the near-extinction of leprosy among Europeans and their descendents. It's just my kind of book--history and medical oddities.

Incidentally, the copy I have (24th printing) was donated in May 1955 to the SC State Board of Health upon the death of Walter Hane (his wife's obit is here), a sanitarian involved in the virtual eradication typhus fever in SC.

Saturday, December 17, 2005

Great Party, Guys

Just home from a Christmas soiree' hosted by Waldie and Baldman, where I also got to see Paeselblossom (now goes by smab?) and Discipleassisi, plus quite a few YACS! It's cool to know a bit about what's going on with folks' lives from their blogs when you aren't able to see them each week.

Congrats to Amy for graduating and to Amy & Tim for finally getting to resume married life after their sojourn here in Purgatory.

Great crowd assembled there off south Pickens, guys. You're right--your parties rock!

Friday, December 16, 2005

Attitude Adjustment

Started off the day well on my way to having a "no good, horrible, very bad day." Litany: not hearing the radio alarm, so arising late; not being able to find parking for a while at USC; finding parking and having to use up all my change because it turns out that the parking garage uses meters (meters!); discovering that I could/should have gone to the free (free!) garage right across the street--but didn't know about it because staff from our program hadn't received all the info sent by workshop planners; sitting in an all day session with talking heads going on and on about WMD's in a building with mondo security and a "no food or open containers allowed" (i.e., no caffeine or glucose) in rooms policy, etc.

So, really, what we had was a series of inconveniences. Irritating, and certainly unpleasant to me, but mostly things that interferred with my getting to do as I pleased. I recognized by the middle of the 1st break that my attitude stank. I was embarrassed, but glad that the Holy Spirit let me know before someone else did.

Strolled over to Daily Mass during the lunch break. Attendance was one priest and two parishioners. The older man sitting near me, fervently fingering his beads before Mass, made a couple of comments and expressed a prayer intention wherein he bared a tiny bit of his soul regarding his grief about a family issue.

So, I'm out 10 quarters and a bit under-caffeinated. Other folks have real problems. The struggle to keep inconvenience in perspective seems to be on-going for me. I'm sure God will give me many more opportunities to learn to accept what comes with grace.

Space Envy

Discovered this afternooon that the handicapped stall in the women's room of the Gervais Street McDonalds is larger than our entire bathroom. Still, glad I don't have to live there.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

76% Southern

Got directed to this quiz by Gashwin, who also appears to be 3/4ths Dixie-ite.

Had to ask Izzy how I say some words ("route," 2nd syllable of "pajamas.") I think I go back and forth on some words (thank a midwestern father and west coast mom and an SC upbringing around transplanted missionaries.) I can hear my dad saying "booook" like "roof" ("rufe") and remember that our family, like lots of folks around here, called all fizzy drinks "coke"--to the point that I didn't realize until Dad was nearly 70 that his favorite "coke" was Pepsi.

Pronouncing "aunt" like "taunt" and calling those drinks "soda" was actually a racial divide (shibboleth) in the South of my youth. Southern white folks said "ant"; everyone else was suspect.

I picked up "soda" when I moved to Texas (from "soda pop" that I heard so often in Oklahoma) and learned to say "Nabs" for those cracker 6-packs when I moved to NC. Haven't "learnt" new terms (of which I'm aware) since moving back to Klumbya (that pronunciation is the way you definitely recognize locals in these parts, plus knowing how to pronounce Cayce (hint: it's not "case."))

Glad I'm not more Yankee, especially since what little accent I had went away when I left for college.

Monday, December 12, 2005

From Penance to Gaudete

Went to the Communal Reconciliation Service tonight at "the Mother Church of the Midlands." As usual, I sat down in front of Fr. and almost immediately forgot what I wanted to confess. Fr. was patient, and allowed me time to get out what I needed to say.

After he shared some thoughts with me, prayed for me, and gave me my penance, Fr. blessed me and then said "God loves you. Merry Christmas."

What better Christmas gift can there be than to know that God loves me? Who better to hear this than from someone with whom I've just been honest about my sins? What better time than to hear of God's love than when I've been examining my conscience to see where I fall short of His glory? I walked back to my pew to say my prayers, grinning like nobody's business.

"God love me." Merry Christmas, indeed.

Operation Weasel (make that "Dynamic" Weasel)

Via Dave Barry.

Operation Dynamic Weasel Sharpens Combat Skills

Air Force News / Tarsha Storey / December 02, 2005

SHAW Air Force BASE, S.C. -

Exercise Operation Dynamic Weasel begins here today to hone the skills Airmen need for combat deployments. The exercise will sharpen tactics, techniques and procedural skills while practicing for combat situations, said Maj. Anthony Roberson, the 20th Operations Support Squadron director of operations. He said the exercise will simulate combat operations in Southwest Asia.

There's more, but nothing explaining how the Air Force, smack dab in the home of Thomas Sumter, the Fighting Gamecock, came to have war games named for weasels.

Boggles the mind. Hope we're prepared to fight asian rodents now.

Where were the crowds for #1001?

So, Governor Schwarzenegger has decided not to grant clemency to Tookie Williams. That's his perogative, even though little is served by this man's execution that couldn't be served by having him spend the rest of him life being penitent in a penitientiary (i.e., away from the spotlight, given time to think and maybe repent for what he's done.)

Having said that, I see so many reports about huge crowds demanding a reprieve for this man, and recall that there were just under a dozen of us at the prayer vigil for Shawn Humphries two weeks ago. No civil disobedience or threatened riots here in SC, just disappointed acceptance that, once more, politics or expediency won out over mercy.

I'll pray for the repose of the souls of both of these men, as well as for the souls of their victims and for the grieving families that have been and will be left behind. I'll also hope that whoever "the next guy" is, he won't be forgotten.

Friday, December 09, 2005

Stuff I haven't blogged on

Because I've been to busy, plus there was a period with no access to computer @ home.

  • "That document"--what does "deep seated tendencies" mean?
  • How gorgeous this Fall was!, after so many blah years.
  • What really happens in prayer? Does God alter what is planned, or are we better able to face what He has in store for us? What about prayers like the Rosary--how am I really affecting my friend's cancer by its recitation? (Please note, I DO believe in prayer, believe very strongly. It's just that sometime's when I've got long distances to drive, I have time to wonder (yes, "I wonder as I wander") about why things are as they are.
  • What should I do with the upcoming 2nd half of my life? If I cannot decide, when will the 2nd half actually start?
  • There are some amazingly generous folks out there (and here!) --who are willing to share their vehicles, their time for rides, etc. We've been blessed to find ourselves in a community--God has continued to be good to us.
  • We attended the vigil for Shawn Humphries--his execution was mostly overlooked, as he was # 1001. #1000 made it into two sermons/homilies I heard last week in NC. Where are all the celebrities for Joe double-wide's vigils?

So, I don't know when I'll get a chance to write more on all I've been thinking about--glad there are folks out there who DO have time.

Musical, busy week

Saturday & Sunday: In NC -- rehearsal for and singing the Ceremony of Carols.

Tuesday: Ben Lippen Elementary School Christmas pageant at CIU (Niece S2D3, now age 6 1/2 sang in the 1st grade choir--and did a nice job!). Went with Mom, who reminded me of so much that Dad did out at CIU--she pointed out trees he'd planted, the sound both where he'd done recordings of chapel services, etc. (Odd note on the pageant: when Mary, Joseph and the two-child-donkey came out, I found myself disappointed that Mary was not in blue. I also noticed when "Mary" needed to get back up onto the stage, she dropped the Baby Jesus she was holding--oops!)

Wednesday: With Izzy to Vigil Mass for the Immaculate Conception @ St. Joe's, enjoyed hearing Carl cantor. Dinner afterwards at Baan Sawan--is there any better food in Columbia?

Thursday: Attended a Christmas Concert of the Palmetto Master Singers at the Koger Center. They did three Marian pieces, plus the Adoro Te Devote (sp?) before going into the "Grandma got run over by a reindeer" pops part of the performance. I went with a friend from high school who has moved back to SC--her Dad is in the Singers.

After the concert, I was able to get to the Chapel for the end of Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament on the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception. We sang accapella Latin. Very moving after prayer.

Saturday: After practice with Doc, we'll be going to 1st Babdis' to see yet another niece (B3D2, on the left, who will be 7 in 10 days from today) in the annual Christmas extravaganza.

Sunday: Back to singing with Doc. Looking forward to it, and to what should be a quiet week next week. Maybe I'll get some Christmas cards mailed before the price of stamps goes up...Maybe I'll even get a chance to spend some time with Izzy, now that his evenng class has ended for Christmas Break. He'd say something like "Yeah, right..." about now.

More Christmas Carol Lyrics: Flit Not

I've now sung this twice in Britten's "A Ceremony of Carols." I wonder how it sounded originally, and how 16th century folks would have felt when they heard it? The last two lines are so cool: If thou wikt foil thy foes with joy, then flit not from this heavenly Boy.

The incarnation is so much about contrasts, and this song lists so many of them.

This little Baby so few days old,
Is come to rifle Satan's fold;
All hell doth at his presence quake,
Though he himself for cold do shake;
For in this weak unarmèd wise
The gates of hell he will surprise.

With tears he fights and wins the field,
His naked breast stands for a shield;
His battring shot are babish cries,
His arrows looks of weeping eyes,
His martial ensings Cold and Need;
And feeble Flesh his warior's steed.

His camp is pitchèd in a stall,
His bulwark but a broken wall;
The crib his trench, haystalks his stakes;
Of shepherds he his muster makes;
And thus, as sure his foe to wound,
The angels' trumps alarum sound.

My soul, with Christ join thou in fight;
Stick to the tents that he hath pight.
Wothin his crib is surest ward;
This little Babe will be thy guard.
If thou wikt foil thy foes with joy,
then flit not from this heavenly Boy.

Our Lady of Early December

I was in Durham last weekend, and got to sing in Britten's Ceremony of Carols as part of Blacknall's Evening of Lesson and Carols. Wow!

First, there's the amazing rush of excitement of a homecoming & seeing so many folks I've known and loved in NC for so many years. Then there was the amazing musicianship of the choir, strings and harp, mixed with the readings (scripture is so moving when read aloud) and finally the response of the congregation. (I could hear four-part harmony coming from the congregation, as well as hearing 6-8 parts in the choir.)

All taken together, by 2/3rd's of the way through the Lessons & Carols, it had become a true worship service--absolutely NOT just a recital of pretty music. Deo gratias!

I'm so grateful for all that's happened since we moved, but I really miss NC (esp. Blacknall and Herr Stuntz's choir.)

Regarding "Our Lady"--Britten's Ceremony of Carols uses old (mostly pre-reformation) hymns and carols. The words of a couple of them were great to reflect on as I anticipated the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception this week.

There is No Rose

There is no rose of such vertu/ As is the rose that bare Jesu.
For in this rose conteined was Heaven and eart in litel space,
By that rose we may well see There be one God in persons three,
Pares forma.
The aungels sungen the sheperds to: Gloria in excelsis Deo!
Leave we all this werldly mirth, and follow we this joyful birth.
Transeamus. Alleluia, Resmiranda, Pares forma, Gaudeamus, Transeamus.

As dew in Aprille

I sing of a maiden That is makeles:
King of all kings To her son she ches.
He came al so stille There his moder was,
As dew in Aprille That falleth on the grass.
He came al so stille There his moder's bour,
As dew in Aprille That falleth on the flour.
He came al so stille There his moder lay,
As dew in Aprille That falleth on the spray.
Moder and mayden wasnever none but she: Well may such a lady Goddes moder be.

Deo Gratias (or Adam lay ibounden)

Deo Gratias!
Adam lay ibounden, bounden in a bond;
Four thousand winter thought he not to long.
Deo Gratias!
And all was for an appil, an appil that he took
As clerkes finden written in their booke
Deo Gratias!
Ne had the appil takè ben, The appil takè ben;
Ne haddè never our lady A ben hevenè quene.
Blessèd be the time That appil takè was.
Therefore we moun singen.
Deo Gratias!

Singing in a presby church about the the "rose of such vertu", the "moder and mayden" knowing that there "wasnever none but she" and sharing the ecstacy of the medieval writer who rejoiced in the eating of the "appil" that lead to the coronation of Our Lady as "quene of hevenè." How cool is that!?!

Thursday, December 08, 2005

News on Epsilon

This from the National Hurricane Center

11 AM AST THU DEC 08 2005


Somebody wants to go home...

Sunday, November 27, 2005

Holiday Weekend

What I did on my Thanksgiving Holiday...(since I doubtless feel I'll have to give a report somewhere, I might as well jot down a few thoughts.)

Wednesday evening:
Saw Harry Potter with Izzy & Friends. Loved Ron Weasley as the anguished teen. Marveled at camera phone technology afterwards, plus the great digital gulf between us & folks who could be our kids.

Slept in, then assembled casseroles. Picked up Mom for the trip to the Upstate for dinner at Brother B2's home. Had been concerned due to hx with B2, but couldn't be more surprised at how nice the day was. His wife, B2W2, has made gift baskets for family, cooked more food than anyone could possibly eat (stuffing measured by the gallon--both kinds), cranberry sauce by the quart, a massive crock pot with green bean casserole, etc. Everyone had a good time.

There were about 20 folks there; in our family you can never get all the schedules aligned. New this year was one of our cousins, that B2's family has taken in. Her mom is in assisted living, and 'cuz seems to be adjusting well to B2's household.

There was a time of guitar & banjo playing (B2 plays both well), singing, etc., after lots of folks had watched Napoleon Dynamite. Another instance of the generational gulf--Izzy and I saw the movie and wanted our 90 minutes back; the kids in three families knew most of the scenes and loved it. Izzy was able to sleep on the way up & back, so Mom & I had a nice visit.

Not to forget: We celebrated B3D1's 9th bday--I got her Easy Bake Oven mixes plus Easy Bake from scratch recipes and she and I will be getting together to cook in two weeks. I also dropped off a gift for B2S3, whose 12th bday I had missed the previous week.

Quiet day. Saw the sweetest film: "Millions." It's a British piece about a boy who finds a sack of money that he assumes came from God, and he sets out to do good with it, guided by the saints who regularly appear to him. Practiced for Sunday with Doc. Izzy went out and got a toaster oven during the Black Friday sales. Brave man!

Lots of travel: from Cayce to the Walmart near Ft. Jackson (the ONLY thing Izzy gets at Wallyworld is a specific motor oil that no one else around here carries--At least he didn't have to go there on Black Friday!), to the motorcycle shop off of Fairfield & I-20, to the Skating Rink near the airport for (you guessed it!) a birthday party for S2's D2sS1 (being the step-son of the 2nd eldest daughter (who had been the oldest until S2's family was blended with her husband's)) of the sister next to me. We got this 6-year-old boy a Spiderman chair, that he seemed happy with. We also delivered a gift for S3S3 (sister3, son3), whose 4th bday party I had missed due to a Parish Council meeting.

After the party, which involved watching kids skate, eat ice cream and play indoor miniature golf, and hearing the cousins tell Izzy how weird he is--they're crazy about him, actually--we headed back to the bike show so Izzy could PICK UP THE LEANABAGO! It's been nearly a month, and I'm so glad he's back to riding his bike. Thanks so much to folks who loaned us a car, gave rides, and even loaned Izzy a bike (his comment: "Most guys would rather loan you their wife than their bike.")

After we drove the bike home, again going around I-77, we drove back to a theater close to the Wallyworld where we'd started the day and saw "Good Night and Good Luck", the film about Edward R. Morrow and his confrontation with Senator McCarthy. Oscar written all over it.

Sunday (today):
Up early for Mass then lunch with Doc & Fam @ Fire Mountain. Nap, then a brief ride on the "Yamahog" before we take it back tomorrow. Izzy rented a painfully true-to-life French film about a family that gets together once a week for dinner--I think I'm ready for some escapism. So, despite what the clocks at Blogger may say about posting times, I'm off to go see the Simpsons now.

Late comment: No Simpsons tonight--just football overtime....

Also: None of the work I brought home to do got done. It'll be busy next week...

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Good Grief, Izzy

So, Izzy took the Which Peanuts Character Are You? quiz, too.

(My results)

He turned out to be Charlie Brown.

Charlie Brown

I love the world weary part! I think it's the genesis of his motto: "It's never too late to have a happy childhood."

Monday, November 21, 2005

YACS! Potluck Dinner Tonight--Pepto Pink

Sent to the Young Adults List serve in advance of our Pre-Thanksgiving Potluck Dinner tonight. (photo is from NPR)


I've just pulled the famous Stanberg recipe cranberry sauce out of the freezer in my office to start it thawing before dinner time.

MMMMMM, good!

PS: Although it might defeat the spirit of a potluck to announce what I'm bringing, I don't think that this would affect anyone else's choices.

  1. If you've made the same thing, we'll have even more!
  2. If you hadn't planned to bring this particular dish, you either:
  • Considered it but thought better of it--the recipe is scary!
  • Considered it, forgot, and now cannot--no time to freeze the ingredients, so you're SOOO glad some will be brought!
  • Never even heard of this recipe.
In any event, it's ghastly pink, and amazingly zingy.

Nearly forgot: Must link to the stuffed lamb (monkey??) demonstration of the recipe.

Sunday, November 13, 2005

Marcie: The one with the glasses...of course.

So, I haven't had time to post for over two weeks. Tonight is my 2nd night to be home in the evening since Halloween!

Found this on a friend's site, and took the quiz:

You are Marcie!

Which Peanuts Character are You?
brought to you by Quizilla

Sooo glad it wasn't Pigpen.

Sunday, October 30, 2005

Texas Pastor's Death during Baptism

Amazing Story.

Yahoo Link.

WACO, Texas - A pastor performing a baptism was electrocuted inside his church Sunday morning after grabbing a microphone while partially submerged, a church employee said.

The Rev. Kyle Lake, 33, was standing in water up to his shoulder in a baptismal at University Baptist Church when he was electrocuted, said Jamie Dudley, a church business administrator and wife of another pastor there.

Doctors in the congregation performed chest compressions, she said. Lake was taken by ambulance to Hillcrest Baptist Medical Center, where nursing supervisor Pat Mahl said he was pronounced dead.

The woman Lake was baptizing was not injured, Dudley said.

Church's Website.


Sometime back, while looking for who knows what on the net, I came across the site and discovered how simple it would be to put up a blog. That's not an ad, it's just an explanation of how I came to try something on a whim without knowing whether or not I'd have anything to say. I mostly used the email post feature, putting things up to help remember them--sort of like spending the whole year composing and editing your Christmas letter.

I would occasionally hear folks discussing blogging on this or that, but never stating in conversation where their blogs were. I figured that privacy was important to them, so I never asked. So, when in the space of a couple of days I was actually given a blog address and got a new blog launch invite, I started being able to read what folks I knew were writing about. I was also able to answer and, in doing so, let a couple of folks know that I was also doing some writing.

It was about this time that Izzy also found out about the blog--he had made comments about the desire to blog being a generational divide marker...and so the topic hadn't come up. We'll see what happens if/when he reads--if/when anyone reads. I'll email a few folks with invites and otherwise just write away. I have neither the time nor the breadth of resources do be an Amy Welborn, and lack the time to write like Izzy does in his email posts to various lists.

I think that the process of thinking about what I am thinking about in order to write about it (circular epistemology?) may make me a more observant person in the long run. That can't be bad.

I think that this has to become my new Profile photo.

Saturday, October 29, 2005

Clinic Story--Washout

See Long Week, Longer Weekend, 2.

So, at 1 minute, 15 seconds into the story, there is a shot inside the church building being used for the clinic. The entire story became about layoffs at the plant--more about these folks as victims, not about anything being done to help them by state folks. Not one word.

To be fair, there was lots of talk about resilience, and that's good. I guess it doesn't have to be all about us...but how about being HONEST about what story you're here to get?!? Clinic coordinators and volunteers could have commented about on-going support for these folks...oh, well. At least we weren't blamed for the problem, like we were for the lead in the water story.

India in the News

So, I awoke this AM to NPR news, and amazingly, the first three stories were from India.

  1. The train derailment into the river in Veligonda (not the NPR link)
  2. Early reports about the explosions in New Delhi (link is to a later story)
  3. Talks between India and Pakistan about collaboration in Kashmir for earthquake relief.

I know Gashwin will be thinking especially about home as Diwali approaches. I haven't checked his blog since I got home from clinic, but I'm sure these tragedies weigh heavy on his mind.

"Tragedies happen to other people"...but as the world gets smaller, those other people get closer and closer.

Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us. Blessed Teresa of Calcutta, pray for us.

Long Week, Longer Weekend, 2

So, Izzy's bike began making some sort of noise today (his call began with: "Do you remember the noise the Hyundai made when it died?") and he ended up not going to Asheville & Mars Hill. He got a ride from an on-line friend at the extreme end of the upstate to the bike shop here. These bikers are great to each other.

B3 and son, B3-1, picked him up and delivered him back to the House of Chez Casa. Doc Watson's audience was minus one fan...

I did the last chlorine follow-up clinic. More people with amazing experiences that they've dealt with using limited resources. Interesting tidbits that are shareable:

  • A mom with worsening asthma was trying to figure out where some of her exposures to triggers were. She mentioned that her husband never smoked in the house...her kids piped up with "yes he does, as soon as you leave..." and lots more details. Her sense of smell isn't so good, I guess...I told her that I hoped she didn't blame the state health dept for her marriage breaking up...
  • Several folks with obvious PTSD.
  • Noticing the amazing variety of shapes and sizes people come in.
  • TV reporter-girl showed up with what appeared to be a pre-written story. She didn't really want interviews of clinic staff, and made several comments that went: "Sooo, you're doing X" or "the patients are from Y..." without really listening to any answers beginning with "Let us explain what we are doing--it may not be all that you are describing it as" or "not entirely..." It looked like a spoof from Journalism 101, but maybe I was expecting NPR style reporting. If they keep the story to a 30 second clip of poor people beng helped, and don't do more, it might be better than a more in-depth story that gets details wrong. We'll watch and see ---- Film at 11.

Friday, October 28, 2005

Long Week, Longer Weekend

I've spent many, many hours this week driving back and forth to a heath department right smack dab in the middle of nowhere, plus working long hours in their clinics to help with an outbreak. No matter what road I've taken, it's been 2+ hours each way, giving me lots of time to think of topics that I'd love to write about. If course, this leaves NO TIME for actual blogging.

So, a list of what I'd love to write about (and ultimately include links for):

  • I'm also a 6 day creationist. However, I think origins, both the Creation story and any and all other theories, should be taught in HISTORY class, not science. Ultimately, neither macro process is directly observable. History classes can look at transmission of stories, effects on belief systems, deriving meaning from "prehistory", etc.
  • Who on earth is Scooter Libby, really, and why are so many people soooo determined to get him de-officed? Is is just because of hate for Cheney & Rove?
  • How glad I am not to need to spend time on EHarmony,, and similar sites like several of my co-workers.
  • Is it just me, or are all women with professional jobs on TV wearing boob shirts? How tough must it be to be a chaste guy in places where women take their cues from these shows?
  • It appears that the final version of the statements coming from the Synod of Bishops will be far more reasonable regarding celibate homosexual priests and seminarians than was feared. If we can get SOOOO worked up about things that we have little certainty about, why do people feel the need to ignore warnings about THE STRONGEST HURRICANE EVER RECORDED?
  • Why is the cat afraid of the kitty door we put into her favorite window?
  • I must be seriously hormonal or something, but, when driving home last night, I drove through a small town Halloween celebration, and couldn't stop crying. Hundreds of costumed children and their parents strolled and ran down Main Street getting treats from merchants, carrying balloon, climbing on fire trucks, etc. It was so Mayberry, and I wouldn't have seen it if I hadn't taken a wrong turn whilst looking for yet another shortcut home. I think I was affected by the quaintness and by some jealousy of those parents.
  • Jealousy includes the word lousy. Hmmmm. I need to collect more of the "you can't spell this without that" words. It's my favorite part of the paper, and what I relax with at night.

Anyhow, there's more, but I've got to get up early and work 10 hours of so in a clinic an hour away. Izzy is going to the Ag school for a foreign language competition, then meeting a friend in Asheville for dinner and then off to a Doc Watson concert in Mars Hill. I might go get a veggie burger and hear some praise music at a local live music venue.

Saturday, October 22, 2005


Met a remarkable young man this evening. Can't say much (HIPAA, etc.) but he survived a harrowing experience earlier this year. This lead to lots of changes in his life, including a carpe diem tattoo/philosophy, and another tattoo of the face of the Virgin from the Pieta. Most life-like tat I've ever seen--Izzy says it's because I don't get out much...

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Dangerous Birds (Ostriches vs. Poultry)

Story from Es-spain-ya: (reminds me of "Baghdad Bob" from a couple of years back...)

I received story below as a forward. While looking for the source, I lookd in Google news for "Spain's agriculture minister dismissed fears." In addition to the link below, I got this query: Did you mean "Japan's agriculture minister dismissed fears"?

Looks like there's danger from little birds (poultry with flu) and bigger birds (ostriches come to mind.) (I didn't look at the links for Japan, just jumped to conclusions. Life's more fun that way.)

Bird flu sparking human epidemic is 'science fiction': Spain

Oct 19 11:09 AM US/Eastern

Spain's agriculture minister dismissed fears bird flu sparking a global epidemic among humans as "science fiction", saying the virus currently only poses a threat to birds.

"The idea of a pandemic among humans is something from science fiction," Spanish Agricultural Minister Elena Espinosa said on the private radio station Cadena Ser, as Europe braced for the further spread of the H5N1 strain of the bird flu, which has killed 60 people in Asia
during the past three years.

Outbreaks of the H5N1 strain have been confirmed in Romania and Turkey, while further tests are being conducted on a suspect case in Greece.

Currently the bird flu is "solely and exclusively a veterinary problem," said Espinosa.

Human infections in Asia were "in very specific poultry raising situations where the families lived with the chickens and infection was due to constant inhalation," Espinosa said.

While H5N1 currently does not spread easily between people, many scientists fear that it may combine with seasonal influenza in humans, mutating into an easily transmissible form that could kill millions like in the 1918 influenza pandemic.

However, Espinosa announced increased surveillance measures and that the stockpile of bird flu vaccine for chickens would be doubled to 10 million doses.

She said a quarantine would be set up around any suspected bird flu outbreaks, with poultry in nearby areas receiving vaccinations.

The Spanish government decided Tuesday to buy six to 10 million doses of anti-viral drugs for groups most at risk for human flu.

Sunday, October 16, 2005

Ch'rismatic Links

1. Great Scott, Qathi & Idabeck in one Photo.

2. Went to this guy's ordination. (Ok, not the guy elevating the host; but the guy whose church this website is for.) Does his church's site look like Anyone else's site? How'd they get away with this?

Chili Recipe

So, I'm finishing up I've started responding to as few friends' blogs and, in doing so, had to reveal the heretofore secret identify. Figured I'd better get around to adding some old draft posts to the blog. In doing so, I've also been re-reading those drafts.

Anyhow, in one recent post I mentioned my internationally famous (eaten and appreciated by folks from the US, the Netherlands & Haiti), Prize-winning (1st prize in the 2001 Haiti Hoedown Chili Cookoff, 2nd place in 2002) Vegetarian Chili recipe.

Here's the recipe, as I sent it out after the 1st cookoff. (If I can ever make the picture upload feature work, I'll post a "Before" picture of the ingredients.)
Subject: Haiti Hoe-Down Chili recipe, as best as I can reconstruct it
Date: Sat, 22 Sep 2001 22:12:29 -0400

I'm sending this recipe to [Izzy] to pass along to folks who might be interested. I will say that I am floored at having won a chili cook-off without using meat!-- but my strategy of bribing the judges must have been successful.

All measurements are incredibly inaccurate and approximate. I was in a bit of a hurry and mostly dumped in spices and ingredients until things looked right. Just like you cannot step into the same river twice, you can probably never make the same pot of chili twice--there will never be the same combination of left-overs and ingredients in the kitchen. [Note: this might look a bit green owing to the broccoli and the colors imparted by the curries and turmeric.]

"Vegetable"-tarian chili
Sauté together in 2 Tbsp. Extra-virgin Olive Oil until onions are tender:

  • 1/3 cup minced garlic
  • 2 large onions, finely chopped
  • Sprinkle over these 3-4 Tbsp. Boston Kitchen brand Cajun Seasoning

Pour into crock pot:

  • 28 oz can Progresso tomato puree
  • ~1/2 cup mild salsa (Taco Bell brand, left-over from Taco Bell taco-kit.)
  • 2 15 oz. cans El Ebro Frijoles Negros (Black beans, available from Mexican stores)
Heat at medium setting.

Cook in large pan or Dutch oven in 1-2 Tbsp. Olive oil until well-heated:

  • 3/4 cup finely shredded carrots (or any amount left-over in freezer)
  • 16 oz. package frozen chopped broccoli (make sure to chop it small if all you have are just broccoli "pieces". You want the broccoli nearly unrecognizable.)
  • 6 thawed and crumbled Garden Burgers (***I've now tried the meatless crumbles. Tasty, but they don't soak up the liquid as well.)

Put all vegetables into tomatoes and bean mixture in crockpot. Add spices, 2-3 vigorous shakes at a time, stirring and tasting until blend seems right. It helps if you misplace the chili powder and then compensate by adding curry and other spices to get the flavor right before you finally locate the chili, and then go ahead and add the chili powder after all. Spice measurements were extrapolated from looking at what was left in the jars. Tbsp. _does_ mean tablespoon; it's not a typo.

  • 3 Tbsp. Mild Indian Curry Powder
  • ~4 Tbsp. Hot Madras Curry Powder
  • 1-2 Tbsp. Ground Turmeric
  • 2 Tbsp. oregano
  • 2-3 Tbsp. Valle del Sol (Whole Foods brand) Chile Powder (***Chipotle powder wasn't readily available when I made my first batches of this. It's an OK substitute, but far less is needed for "general audiences".)
  • 1/3 cup raw minced garlic-added at the last minute (***just before serving or driving to the chili cookoff) to minimize the time the garlic gets cooked.
Add 1/4 to 1/2 cup water since the Garden Burgers soak up lots of liquid. Heat chili to hot in crockpot, and then simmer at medium setting until ready to serve.
(Note from bitter experience: If you make it ahead of time, don't leave chili cooking in the Crockpot over 6 hours--it can get a burnt taste.
***2010 Update: It's OK to leave in a large crockpot, especially one with a "warm" setting, versus an older, smaller pot with only High and Medium settings.)

Serves 5 judges (1 Dixie cup each) and a line-full of Haiti Hoe-Downers. I don't know if it freezes well, since there weren't any left-overs.


Recipe (c) House of Chez Casa, Durham, NC, 2001.

Friday, October 14, 2005

Friday Night

So, we're watching a Daily Show re-run--it's from just before Rita hit and John Stewart addressed the Almighty with "What part of 'God Bless America' don't You get?" (Maybe John didn't do the capitalization, but I'll keep it.)

Izzy made "Greek omelettes" tonight--feta cheese and garlic-stuffed green olives. Zingy! We'll be headed off the the Tempurpedic soon so we can get up early in the AM. Izzy is taking a group of high schoolers to do home rehab for the poor and I'm going to go watch children pet animals and then not wash their hands...

Jon Gore and Lindsay Brooks just had to get their hands in there. The two recent Winthrop graduates from Columbia were among the many hanging out with the animals at Commerford and Sons Petting Zoo.
“You don’t see llamas and zebras every day,” Gore said. “If it were cats and dogs, it would be different.”
For her part, Brooks was after the soft touch.
“The llama was my favorite because it was the soft one. If they weren’t that soft, I moved on.”
The petting zoo can be found on Academic Avenue.
Don’t forget to wash your hands after your visit.

New corner office this week--door and a window! After 2 years and 10 months, I'm finally back out of a cubicle! Still in the Looney Bin, though.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Back to It -- Next Sunday's Readings

Well, almost done with the revisions to the STM website-taking up much of my time, along with whatever it is I actually do for work.

Looking at the readings for next Sunday (Cycle A, 29th in Ordinary Time),

Isaiah 45:1, 4-6 -- God tells Cyrus that HE put Cyrus in place, HE is responsible, HE is using Cyrus to accomplish HIS plans.

Psalm 96 -- The Lord is King, HE governs the peoples with equity.

Matthew 22:15-21 -- Render unto Caesar (KJV language.)

There's been some young adult group discussion on government and morality of same lately...This should be interesting if the right mix of folks come to Bible Study tomorrow to discuss.

Similar passages: From Proverbs 21:1 "The heart of the king is in the hand of the Lord; He turneth it withersoever He will." (again, KJV language is so gorgeous) Also from Romans 13:5 -- "Pay your taxes."

Steliz--works for the government, and really is "here to help you."

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Link for Story on altar desecration

Pretty amazing. I think I’ve been to home church meetings (back in the ‘70’s) with these folks, or their cousins.

Sunday, October 02, 2005

Duet, a capella

Doc was ill this AM--2nd a capella Sunday this Fall. Here’s my note to him on how it went. (Just wanted to have a place to keep this memory, in the event I need to recall it someday...)

Glad to see you've rejoined the living. If you need your sinuses cleared, you could come by our house--I'm cooking my internationally famous, prize-winning vegetarian chili, to be served at the Yactoberfest on Monday.

About this morning, I think it went OK. The acoustics in the room worked well for two treble voices, and Izzy even said that, at one point, A. and I sounded like just one voice. That's hard to do--I'm so glad we were doing stuff we had done before(!) (There was one blip/off-note in the Psalm--I think I went down when I should have gone up or something like that, but otherwise we clicked on just about all cylinders.) We had identical timing, phrasing and (I think) good communication on entrances and starting notes (though having the guitar and another voice would sure have made the sound better!) The congregation sang well--Fr. Pentiss (sub priest) even commented on it--I think they were trying to support the "girls with no accompaniment."

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Response to Gay Seminarian Discussion (2)

More from Email discussions. Something in my discord detector beeped and I felt the need to be sure that two people in the discussion didn't talk past each other. Basic issue of discussion appeared to be whether/how tendencies to sin persist after person becomes a more mature believer (whether through conversion, after confirmation, after growing more in his faith, etc.) Relates to the idea of whether a person with SSA can '"change."

J wrote:

... In Paul's second letter to the Corinthians he says, "Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!" (II Cor. 5:17). In other words, if a person is in Christ (i.e. a Christian), he will still have to deal with temptations of all kinds. Nevertheless, as a new creation, he is no longer gay, a murderer, a rapist, or what have you, if he has put off the "old self" and put on the new (see Ephesians 4:22-24).

G responded:

As to the "permanence" of this "deep-seated" tendency -- I really don't think it's as clear cut as you present it. I don't think that one can deduce from St. Paul's language that you quoted that baptism can remove these "deep-seated" tendencies. You yourself acknowledge this. I'm not sure it's a helpful distinction to say that someone is not homosexual after baptism/conversion to Christ. If people still struggle with SSA post baptism, then, yes, they're homosexual. Baptism doesn't take the condition away. I hope that made sense?

I responded, having grown up Babdis’ and having finely tuned heresy and theological confusion detectors:

Just a bit of clarification [a' la Izzy], so that we don't get hung up on theological language.

J. refers to being "in Christ" and "a new Creation." G. refers mainly to baptism, and once to conversion when discussing this status.

Since the whole "One Lord, One Faith, One Baptism" thing hasn't lead to unity of all believers, it's important that we understand each other's terms, so that we don't get hung up on points tangential to the main question regarding candidates for the

Regarding Baptism: Catholic understanding says that baptism, as a sacrament of initiation, makes us part of God's family, removing the stain of original sin, not the ability to sin. Conversion is the ongoing process of becoming more like Christ.

Baptist (I think that is your background, J, correct?), understanding is that Baptism is a sign and an action/ordinance undertaken in obedience to Christ upon acceptance of Jesus as your Savior. Baptism itself, separate from acceptance of Christ, would not effect a change in the person's relationship with God. Conversion is synonymous with becoming a new creature, which is what happens when one accepts Christ.

I think in talking about baptism/conversion and being in Christ, you guys are both talking about a person who has come to a point where he has turned his life over to Christ. This is presumably at a point AFTER having had opportunities to sin and to discover within himself "deep seated tendencies" for various types of sin. Neither
of you appear to be talking about a newly baptised infant or to a young child who has just "asked Jesus into his heart."

In any case, you would both agree that the conversion/baptism/"being a new Creation" gains the sinner forgiveness of sin and a relationship with Christ. It is at this point, whatever we call it, that we must address what tendencies, habits, preferences, etc., we bring into our relationship with God.

Paul's writings, esp. in Romans 6, seem to indicate that this new status does not automatically equal sanctity. If it did, Paul would not have to, in the same chapter, tell us that we need no longer be slaves to sin, and admonish us to not let sin reign over our mortal bodies. We put off the old self that is enslaved to sin, but not the ability to sin. In Romans 7, Paul admits that "the spirit is willing but the flesh is weak," and recognizes that the struggle continues until we have put off this mortal body.

Don't think I strayed into heresy...

Response to Gay Seminarian Discussion

My 2 cents worth in a discussion amongst our young adult group on the not-yet-released document.

I'm heartened by G having pointed to John Allen's article (used to be here) on what the Vatican means when it says Thou Shalt or Thou Shalt Not. It is certainly different from my understanding of what a rule is. If you missed the article, the gist was that for folks in the US, a rule is what YOU MUST DO. In the Italian mindset, which informs Vatican policy-making, a rule is what everyone would adhere to if this were a perfect world.

That understanding, assuming that it is valid, cushions the concern and (dare I say it?) "let-down" I felt when I began hearing enough of the story to realize that it wasn't just a rumor. For the first time, I found myself disagreeing with something that may become Church policy. I don't think that the honeymoon is over, but was certainly a shock to the system.

I thought I'd contribute to this discussion from the relatively new convert position. I'd given a great deal of thought to the question of ordination of gay and lesbian individuals as the Presbyterian Church (USA) wrestled with the question at each bi-annual General Assembly. Like Sean's premise with his students, I felt comfortable separating the orientation and a person's acting upon it.

Despite my personal reservations about ordination of women as pastors and elders, I think I was comfortable with the idea of ordination for pastors, elders and deacons who had (not "who suffered from" or "who were afflicted with" or even "who lived with") attraction to persons of their own gender, so long as they remained celibate. The Presbyterian Church does not require celibacy of her ministers, but current Presby polity (not those promoting the "gay agenda") enjoins upon these folks to live celibate lives to avoid sin or scandal/rumors. This is because, in the Presbyterian debate, the question was not strictly about sexual orientation, but about allowing persons actively living in sin (i.e., sexually active LGBT's) to serve as ministers.

That debate continues, but now I'm looking through a different lens. As a Catholic, I find that, at least on the surface as reported in the media, Holy Mother Church doesn't seem to be as "reasonable" as I think I am.

I've read the commentaries & blogs, talked to folks who know about the environment of seminaries, and looked in the Scriptures. Like many of you, I want any focus on sexual orientation to separate what a person is tempted towards, and how a person lives, empowered by the Holy Spirit. I want us to honor those men who are able to live chastely in our sex-obsessed world, not look for pink triangle tattoos. Like Chris, I want to talk to a priest who understands living with temptation, not one who has had to deny part of himself to embark on what he has experienced as a call from God.

I read the list of questions that the seminary visitors/auditors must answer and there are only two directly related to sexuality (however one defines it--thanks to Sean for his description of this part of our identity as our search for wholeness.)

Other parts of the document address what we all want in those men shepherding us: I want priests devoted to prayer, priests who don't spout new age philosophy, priests with administrative skills, priests with compassion, smart priests, priests who can make the truth clear to parishioners of all ages, etc. I'm willing to accept a celibate man, irrespective of with whom he is not having sex.

Like my dear husband, I'm holding the wait and see attitude, I hope that whatever document is ultimately promulgated is reasoned and sensible.

Izzy had written:

Count me among those taking a wait-&-see approach, but I confess that I'm not waiting very optimistically. I hope that both the working paper for the seminary audit and the expected document on gays in the clergy will avoid the equation of gays with pedophiles. I also kind of hope that this spurious equation has been made now by the news media rather than anything in the Catholic documents; given the collocation of sex-abuse scandals and the seminary audit, it would be easy for American media to assume that the audit is mainly to do with the much-publicized scandals.

I am less hopeful that official documents will show an even-handed approach to chastity and challenges that seminarians face. Will heterosexuals, homosexuals, and bisexuals all be treated as having the same challenges to chastity and the same resources available for maintaining chastity? If seminaries in the American Church, which has a disproportionate share of gay rights advocates, are forbidden from admitting chaste gays, will Irish seminaries be forbidden from admitting sober alcoholics?

But before I start tearing my hair and cheeks over what will be said, I'll wait to hear what it is. Who knows, we may even get a carefully nuanced document that appreciates the differences between SSA, homo- and bi-sexuality, and makes a good bit of sense when we read it. I don't say we'll all be happy with it when it arrives, but we ARE talking about the Church that produced the eminently reasonable Humanae Vitae, another document widely reviled and left unpracticed in the American Church.

Sunday, September 25, 2005

Katrina Aftermath

Found before & after pics of our goddaughter's house in NOLA (uptown).

“Afters” were taken at the height of the flooding, so what they heard about no flood damage appears to be correct. There may be wind and tree damage, plus possible water after Rita blew through.

In Left (Before) pic, their house is hidden by the large tree in the yard next door (southeast). That yard has a pool, which is not visible in the "after" (Right) pic.

Eventually I'll get these uploaded...

Saturday, September 24, 2005

Report on our Week, including Fire at the Beach

Sent this to Mom last night, thought I'd post...In re-reading, I’m seeing that I’m still pretty awkward in discussing “Catholic things” with family.

Click for a picture that was taken shortly before the closing Mass at the Fire at the Beach conference we went to at Myrtle Beach last weekend.

You can click previous or next and see interesting pics of the Bishop (biggest hat) and the Knights of Columbus (most unusual hats.)

Enjoyed having all y'all over the other night. Hope all the kids got all of the sugar out of their systems.... 8-)

We've been in the midst of a busy week & a half!
--Beach trip Thursday through Sunday, including me giving a presentation to a child care conference,
--Young Adult group meeting at church on Monday,
--party prep & cooking on Tuesday,
--Nephew's party here on Wednesday,
--Friends from church: G (the guy who took the photo--Brother 1 calls him Groovy") and MB (the guy seated next to me in the photo) over on Thursday night.
G served us a homemade Indian dinner that he made here (our kitchen smelled
--riding in Spring Valley's Homecoming Parade last night,
--a Spring Valley faculty party tonight.

That's in addition to work, grading mountains of papers, washing mountains of laundry, doing the Bulletin), worrying about Hurricane Rita hitting the LP's, etc.

We'll try and have a relaxing Saturday.

Monday, September 19, 2005


Sent to boss, G and Izzy:

Almost missed that today is National "Talk like a Pirate Day." Herrrre's a website ferr ye to be looookin' at, me hearties. (site may be a bit slow--everyone is getting "on board" with this today...)

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Home Churching and New "W" Joke

From the Onion (via G)
Report: More Kids Being Home-Churched:

It is way beyond funny...Love the reference to the Zaccheus song!

Also, and this could have been a question in the Judge Roberts hearings:

Q: What is President Bush's opinion on Roe vs. Wade?

A: He doesn't care HOW people get out of New Orleans.

Sunday, September 11, 2005

Dietary Notes

(Note sent by Izzy to a friend offering to cook for us. Adapted.)

You asked about Lizzie's dietary restrictions. Here is a little note Lizzie once put together about her non-Levitical Dietary Restrictions. It is, I hope you'll note, modeled on a piece by Ian Frazier that once ran in _Atlantic Monthly_ and became somewhat infamous. You used to be able to get the original here (and even listen to the author read it.) Now you have to be a paying subscriber. Finks. I think I still have e-copy of the thing on my hard drive if you're interested.

(Found a posted version.)

Anyway, here is Lizzie's solipsistic version, dated 20 June 2001:

~~~Begin Quote~~~

"Comments" concerning food and drink:

Of the fish of the sea and the fowl of the air, and the beasts of the field, of those clean and unclean, I may not eat.

Of the milk of the cattle and the sheep and the goat, whilst in the form fore-ordained by the Creator for the young of each species, I may not drink.

Of the milk hardened into cakes for only a moment's time, and of the especially smelly young milk-cakes I may not eat.

Of the lumpy cheesy concoctions, high in fat and masquerading as food for penitents and mendicants, I may not eat.

Yet, of the skim and one percent milk, or the regular milk BAKED into dishes, I may eat. And of the low-fat or non-fat cottage cheese or yogurt, I may eat, but not too much. I may eat of the low-fat or non-fat ice cream, although these are vile and loathsome in [my husband's] sight.

And of the hard and aged cheeses, yea even those sharp, pungent and gratable cheeses, I may eat, especially when cooked onto a pizza.

Of the radishes and bell peppers and cucumbers, and other offerings of Cain which cause the belching in one's innermost being, I may not eat.

Of the lettuce, Bibbed or iceberg, and of similar textureless and tasteless fillers, I may eat only a small portion, lest I return the abomination that is iceberg lettuce to the depths of the earth.

Yet of the spinach, cooked or raw, or nicely seasoned with lemon and olive oil, I may eat and give hearty thanks.

And although I may not partake of the raw cucumber or the barely pickled deli-cukes, I may enjoy the produce of the cucumber vine when fully briny or fully sweet (I may even "relish" the dish.)

Of the cooked vegetables I may eat, although it is of a truth that it is said that squash is an offense in my sight. I will endure it as Job endured boils, though, when it is the only non-meat item on a menu and is served as part of a "vegetable melody."

What more shall I say? Shall I sing the praises of grilled eggplant or of the asparagus quesadilla? Shall I tell of chutneys and of spinach enchiladas and "Not Dogs" and of broccoli fried rice? Of tomatoes, cooked into garlicky sauces and served over pasta, or sliced and served with basil and mozzarella, or cooked into creamy soups, or even sliced fresh and red-ripe and served with salt and pepper? There is not time to tell the worth of lemon meringue pies or crescent roll pandowdy or ice milk or Diet Dr. Pepper or iced tea, yet I glory in these even as they remain constantly with my hips, withersoever I shall go.

Should I prepare meals, I may, like Peter with Cornelius, set aside these laws to prepare sustenance; although, like Moses on Mt. Nebo, I may not partake of that which is reserved for others.

(Apologies to Ian Frazier)

Sunday, September 04, 2005

Solo, a capella

So, Doc calls this AM around 8:10 and will not be able to sing (I had the phone on silent and missed his first 2 attempts earlier.) We’d spent lots of time practicing the music and I felt like I could do it, so I led music a capella for 9 AM Mass.

Based on what I'd seen from Katrina all week, I'm glad I'd had time to ruminate on Psalm 42: "As the Deer Longs..." I though that the "over my head, all Your mighty waters, sweeping over me" and "where is God?" parts would be especially relevant after all of the images on TV this week. Based on what we'd practiced, I did Refrain (x2), Verse 1, Refrain, Verses 2 & 3, Refrain, Verses 4&5, Refrain. It put the despair verses and the hope verses together.

Ref: As the deer longs for running streams
So I long, so I long
So I long for you

(1) Athirst my soul for you the God who is my life
When shall I see, when shall I see
See the face of God?

Ref: As the deer longs for running streams…

(2) Echoes meet as deep is calling unto deep
Over my head, all your mighty waters
Sweeping over me

(3) Continually, the foes delights in taunting me
Where is God? Where is your God?
(sotto voce) Where, oh where, are You?

(4)Defend me God, send forth your light and your truth
They will lead me to your holy mountain
To your dwelling place

(5)Then I shall go unto the altar of my God
Praising you, O my joy and gladness
I shall praise your name

Ref: As the deer longs for running streams…

Music & setting © 1988, Bob Hurd. Published by OCP Publications. All rights reserved.

Offertory: Hosea. It fit in well with the just completed homily on forgiveness and 2nd chances.

Hoping not to have to do solo a capella again-- good to know I can, though, if I have to.

Friday, September 02, 2005

Will New Orleans Recover?

Response to BMPC discussion about New Orleans, where folks had referred to the Canal Street Presbyterian Church. Names changed for blogpost.

Another note related to Canal Street Presbyterian Church:

Last Christmas, Izzy and I had the privilege of worshiping there. We were with former Blacknallites JB & MKB, and members of their families (a very few of you may remember JE & K LP and their children Timbob & Idabeck (our goddaughter)), along with former members of the Bible Church we were part of Mesquite, Texas.

What brought all of us together was the ordination of a priest in the Charismatic Episcopal Church (ICCEC). So there we were, Catholics, CEC folks, Presbyterians, Episcopalians, Methodists, Assemblies of God (even ORU alums), Baptists, plus others, worshiping in this wonderful church that has such close historic ties to Blacknall. It was so very much like a homecoming for us.

For those with long memories, JB & MKB and their 3 children now live in Shreveport, LA. They are currently hosting 4 LP’s and 2 dogs and they await the soon arrival of 2 more LP’s (grandparents Granpaul and K) flying in from Virginia where they were vacationing when Katrina hit.

In a snapshot of what is happening with so many families, there are uncertainties about:

  • Work: JE is a professor at a university in NoLA--when will/can it re-open? When will they be paid for time already worked? Should he look for another job? JE& MK’s father, Granpaul, is a title attorney--when will real estate transactions in NO resume?
  • Resources: 11 people and several dogs to feed on one salary. Lack of on-line access to checking accounts for an NO based bank. Living for a while with 3 changes of clothes per person.
  • Education: Enrollment in school? Continued home schooling without all of the resources needed?
  • Emotional Stress: Timbob (age 10) has autism and is, as would be expected, having a tough time being away from familiar things and places. Although the LP house in Uptown escaped most of the flooding, what will be left from rampant looting in that area?

    These are intelligent folks with excellent educations, who were well prepared for the storm. In hearing from K about how much their lives are upended, I feel even more strongly for those who had less to begin with...

Eerily Correct Prediction

Sent to a couple of lists:

By now, you may have heard about the October 2004 National Geographic Article on Louisiana wetlands that contains a fairly accurate description of what has just happened in New Orleans.

P. & M. will be especially interested in the bio/eco/hydro aspects of how decisions made upstream affect the downstream populations.

For the rest of us, it's just a bizarre read that might spark some discussion about stewardship of resources, natural tendencies that people have to discount risks to themselves, etc.

A few sample sentences:

Nearly 80 percent of New Orleans lies below sea level—more than eight feet below in places—so the water poured in. A liquid brown wall washed over the brick ranch homes of Gentilly, over the clapboard houses of the Ninth Ward, over the white-columned porches of the Garden District, until it raced through the bars and strip joints on Bourbon Street like the pale rider of the Apocalypse. As it reached 25 feet (eight meters) over parts of the city, people climbed onto roofs to escape it.

Thousands drowned in the murky brew that was soon contaminated by sewage and industrial waste. Thousands more who survived the flood later perished from dehydration and disease as they waited to be rescued. It took two months to pump the city dry, and by then the Big Easy was buried under a blanket of putrid sediment, a million people were homeless, and 50,000 were dead. It was the worst
natural disaster in the history of the United States.
Above is one of the best photos I've seen regarding the scale of the clean-up involved.

Disaster Relief

List serve response to questions about getting “invited” to go help with Katrina Relief:

My slightly edited responses to questions asked below:

I think I can answer the question raised about "an invitation."

As part of our SC's disaster plan, we are part of the Emergency Management Assistance Compact (EMAC, for those of us in government.) Through EMAC, states send out requests to other states for various tasks that they need help with, and for various skill sets that will help them in their recovery. DHEC has received EMAC requests to assist in a number of ways, including hydrogeology ("what's up wit' the water, dude?"), epidemiology and medical care of displaced persons.

Recovery Teams are being assembled and logistics are being planned. As you can see from news coverage, teams in many areas will have to be self-sustaining. This means bringing our own food, water, gas, bedding, toilet facilities(?), etc., PLUS all the supplies needed to DO what we are asked to do. Areas also have to be safe enough to enter (not just lawful, but also no longer under imminent threat of rising water, etc.)

P. and I (any others out there?) have let our supervisors know that we are willing to serve. As our particular skill sets are needed, we may be asked to join an EMAC team headed for the gulf coast. There will likely be a number of teams heading out soon and over the next 4-6 months.

Take-home Point: One of the essentials in disaster recovery is ORGANIZATION: from delivery of supplies to deployment and receiving of support personnel. Kind-hearted people who suddenly appear at a site have good intentions, but may not be self-sustaining, and may end up needing rescuing themselves. This is, sadly, one of the reasons it has taken National Guard and Air Force groups 3-4 days to get to NOLA. They had to be able to get there, land planes with supplies and set up field

Incidentally, I am more likely to end up in Alabama, Northern Mississippi, or Texas; P. is more likely to end up in southern Mississippi or Louisiana.

G wrote:
P--thanks so much for sharing your thoughts!

What exactly are you waiting for an invitation to do? With which group? When will you know? Do fill us in. And of course, rest assured of my prayers, our prayers. Your commitment to serving those in need is most inspiring!
Paula had written:

Hi friends,

In striking Michelle-esque style, I've tossed my name in the hat to help with relief efforts in MS and LA... well, less "tossed" than "placed deliberately."

I lay awake in bed last night after watching the news - it was the first time I've had the tv on in weeks (HP and all) - thinking of ways I could get to LA to hand one thirsty person a bottle of water, and I woke up this morning to the news that SAR workers had been called off their duties to fight rampant looting.

This morning I read my e-mails at work in tears. The last one was a request for volunteers to join the relief effort in kind. Hopefully in the next couple months I'll be devising clean-up schemes to get sewage out of people's homes and get underground storage tank leaks under control. I have to admit, I feel more qualified to fetch coffee or help build a make-shift shelter than be a geologist in that place, but I think I just have to go, whatever the task. I know I'm lucky to be in a position where I can leave town for a couple weeks and shake dirty hands with the people in the front lines - and I may never have the opportunity again.

So the real reason I'm telling you this is to ask for your prayers for the people making decisions about forming our teams, for my own strength while I wait for an invitation, and of course for those who need the Body of Christ most right now.

Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Amazing (and yet true) Obituary

Learned about this one from M.E. at the YACS! gathering.

Dorothy Gibson Cully obituary

On June 3, 2005 at 10:45 p.m. in Memphis, Tennessee, Dorothy Gibson Cully, 86, died peacefully, while in the loving care of her two favorite children, Barbara and David. All of her breath leaked out. The mother of four children, grandmother to 11, great-grandmother to nine, devoted wife for 56 years to the late Ralph Chester Cully and a true friend to many, Dot had been active as a volunteer in the Catholic Church and other community charities for much of the past 25 years. She was born the second child of six in 1919 as Frances Dorothy Gibson, daughter to Kathleen Heard Gibson and Calvin Hooper Gibson, an inventor best known as the first person since the Middle Ages to calculate the arcane lead-to-gold formula. Unable to actually prove this complex theory scientifically, and frustrated by the cruel conspiracy of the so-called "scientific community" working against his efforts, he ultimately stuck his head in a heated gas oven with a golden delicious apple propped in his mouth. Miraculously, the apple was saved for the evening dessert. Calvin was not.

Native Marylanders and long time Baltimore, Kent Island and Ocean City residents, Ralph and Dot later resided in Lakeland, Florida and Virginia Beach, Virginia. Several years after Ralph's death, Dot moved to Raleigh in 2001, where she lived with her son, David.

At the time of her death, Dot was visiting her daughter, Carol in Memphis. Carol and her husband, Ron, away from home attending a "very important conference" at a posh Florida resort, rushed home 10 days later after learning of the death. Dot's other children, dutifully at their mother's side helping with the normal last minute arrangements - hospice notification, funeral parlor notice, revising the last will, etc. - happily picked up the considerable slack of the absent former heiress.

Dot is warmly remembered as a generous, spiritually strong, resourceful, tolerant and smart woman, who was always ready to help and never judged others or their shortcomings. Dot always found time to knit sweaters, sew quilts and send written notes to the family children, all while working a full time job, volunteering as Girl Scout leader and donating considerable time to local charities and the neighborhood Catholic Church.

Dot graduated from Eastern High School at 15, worked in Baltimore full time from 1934 to 1979, beginning as a factory worker at Cross & Blackwell and retiring after 30 years as property manager and controller for a Baltimore conglomerate, Housing Engineering Company, all while raising four children, two of who are fairly normal.

An Irishwoman proud of and curious about her heritage, she was a voracious reader of historical novels, particularly those about the glories and trials of Ireland. Dot also loved to travel, her favorite destination being Eire's auld sod, where she dreamed of the magic, mystery and legend of the Emerald Isle.

Dot Cully is survived by her sisters, Ginny Torrico in Virginia, Marian Lee in Florida and Eileen Adams in Baltimore; her brother, Russell Gibson of Fallston, Maryland; her children, Barbara Frost of Ocean City, Maryland, Carol Meroney of Memphis, Tennessee, David Cully of Raleigh, North Carolina and Stephen Cully of Baltimore, Maryland. Contributions to the Wake County (NC) Hospice Services are welcomed. Opinions about the details of this obit are not, since Mom would have liked it this way.

Although the "obit" now appears in a column (leading one to assume that it is a parody), turns out it's there only so it didn't disappear from the N&O's website, as do most obits after 2 weeks.

For more on the decisions (and lack thereof) that went into the publishing of this obit (originally published on 7/2/05), see Ted Vaden's column here.